Infantile Hemangioma
Signs and Symptoms

Hemangiomas can be superficial, growing only in the top few layers of the skin, or deep, involving more layers of the skin. Superficial hemangiomas are initially bright red and usually elevated above the surface of the skin. Deep hemangiomas are blue or skin-colored and often feel warm to the touch. Some hemangiomas have both deep and superficial components.

Most patients have just one hemangioma, but some have multiple hemangiomas. About 60 percent of hemangiomas are located on the head and neck. Approximately 25 percent occur on the trunk and 15 percent are on the arms or legs. Hemangiomas may temporarily increase in size after crying or during colds.

Complications of Infantile Hemangioma

Hemangiomas are rarely painful unless the overlying skin breaks down, a complication known as ulceration. Ulceration occurs in about 10 percent of infants with hemangiomas, particularly in moist locations like the diaper area, armpit or lips.

Although hemangiomas are a growth of vascular tissue, severe bleeding is actually quite rare. Hemangiomas are a collection of small blood vessels, not balloons of blood that can burst. Bleeding, if it does occur, can usually be stopped with firm pressure.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Birthmarks & Vascular Anomalies Center
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor, 5B
San Francisco, CA 94158
Appointments: (415) 353-7823
Clinic: (415) 353-7800
Fax: (415) 353-7478
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